Curiously enough, one of the most common questions people ask about Mackinac Island is if there are zip lines. The answer: No, there are no zip lines on Mackinac Island.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any exciting activities for thrill seekers.
Sure, you might think of Mackinac Island first and foremost as a quiet place where life moves along at a clip-clop pace just the same as it did hundreds of years ago. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then you can certainly immerse yourself in that kind of relaxing vacation.
But you can also find things to do on Mackinac Island that will get your heart pumping.
For example, you could float a few hundred feet in the air off the back of a speedboat and film yourself screaming as you soar above the Straits of Mackinac!
“You’re up pretty high,” said Capt. Jim Rizzardi, owner of Mackinaw Parasailing. “You can see the whole downtown area and get a nice panoramic view of the bridge and the Grand Hotel from the one side of the island, and you can see Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac from the other side.”
And if you want to get dipped in the water on the way down – hey, you only live once – then they can gently splash you into the surf for an experience you’ll never forget.
Want more ideas for a memorable adrenaline rush on Mackinac Island? Here are eight more exciting activities for your to-do list:
- Hike up to Fort Holmes – Okay, this is maybe less of an adrenaline rush and more of a perspiration gush. Fort Holmes sits atop the highest point on Mackinac Island, and it’s an uphill grind to get there. But what a thrill when you arrive! The panoramic view is marvelous. Plus, Fort Holmes is a pretty place for a picnic.
- Walk the Tranquil Bluff Trail – Another spine-tingling hiking route is along the Tranquil Bluff Trail on the east side of Mackinac Island. The trails winds along the bluff some 100 feet or more above Lake Huron. The views and photo ops are unbelievable. Just don’t get too close to the edge!
- Bike offroad – Riding all the way around Mackinac Island on a bicycle can be a leisurely pursuit, if you’d like, moving just fast enough to feel the lake breeze on your face. For a little extra thrill, pedal the dirt trails through Mackinac Island State Park and really feel the air move through your hair! There are many miles of trails that are great for mountain biking and fat tire biking, too. There’s also a BMX bike path for kids ages 12 and under at Grand Hotel’s Woodlands Activity Center.
- Take an aerial tour – Not quite brave enough for parasailing? Then how about an aerial tour inside the cabin of an aircraft? Taking off from Mackinac Island Airport and seeing the landscape from high above is an exhilarating way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Crown Jewel of the Great Lakes. Aerial tours of Mackinac Island are available by both airplane and helicopter.
- Go paddling – A kayak or paddleboard trip along the shore of Mackinac Island offers another exciting perspective on the land of the Great Turtle. You can take a guided trip with Great Turtle Kayak Tours, with options at sunrise, sunset and throughout the day. You can even embark on a trek all the way around Mackinac Island! And you can add a snorkeling excursion to your tour and explore the underwater caves and rock formations in Mackinac Island’s Rock Maze, just off the shore from Arch Rock.
- Boating the Great Lakes – Just as Mackinac Island is the departure point for relaxing excursions on party boats, it’s also where you can head out on the open water on a boating adventure. A customized powerboat tour with Brown Eyed Girl Charters will give you an exciting experience of the Straits of Mackinac. Mackinac Island also is the finishing point for two annual yacht races, one that starts in Chicago and one in Port Huron, Mich.
- Shoot the cannon at Fort Mackinac – One lucky person each day gets to load and fire the cannon at Mackinac Island’s historic Fort Mackinac. It’s literally a blast! So are several other interactive programs at the fort where you can see live rifle demonstrations and watch interpretive soldiers go through marching drills.
- Get spooked at the Haunted Theatre – If you dare, you can come face to face with legendary Mackinac Island monsters at the Haunted Theatre Or, scare yourself silly by seeing what reflects off the glass in Mackinac Island’s amazing 3D Maze of Mirrors. For an even more chilling experience, go on a Haunts of Mackinac walking tour of the island’s eeriest places.
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